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PBS News Hour Weekend

News/Business. Hari Sreenivasan. (2013) Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars battle addiction to narcotic painkillers upon their return home. New. (CC) (Stereo)

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PBS

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00:31:00

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TV-MA

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Channel v709

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mpeg2video

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ac3

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TOPIC FREQUENCY

Afghanistan 6, Mandela 4, Nelson Mandela 2, Wagoner 2, Va Hospital 2, Va 2, Wallick 2, America 2, Us 2, U.s. 2, Iraq 2, China 2, Oregon 2, The Va 1, Pete Seger 1, Mada Mandela 1, Aaron 1, Vitac 1, Carole Burnett 1, Tim 1,
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  PBS    PBS News Hour Weekend    News/Business. Hari Sreenivasan.  (2013) Veterans of the  
   Iraq and Afghanistan wars battle addiction to narcotic...  

    December 7, 2013
    5:30 - 6:01pm PST  

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on this edition for saturday december 7th, as millions mourn his death we look inside the prison where nelson mandela was held. finding jobs for young workers. and the consequences of overprescribing powerful drugs to veterans. >> i thought the painkillers were okay because the doctors were prescribing it for me. >> next on "pbs news 40ur weekend." >> made possible by the in
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memory of ira dean wallick, roslyn p. walters, corporate funding provided by mutual of america, designing customized, individual and group retirement products. additional support is provided by -- and by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tish wnet studios, this is pbs news hour weekend. >> defense secretary chuck hagel arrived in afghanistan to visit with american troops. but in the line of tension between the two countries he is not scheduled to meet with the afghan president. despite american objections he continues to insist on the
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release of afghan prisoners from guantanamo. otherwise karzai says he won't sign a new security deal. failure to reach an agreement could mean the withdrawal of troops from afghanistan in 2014. an 85-year-old man held in north korea was set free today. he was reunited with his wife. during his captivity he appeared on north korean state television reading what was described as a confession. he was removed from a plane as he was about to leave that country. north korean officials claim he was conspireing with anti-government parties in north career yeah. the prime minister of japan is trying to defuse a conflict
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between japan and china. they lay claim to islands in the east china sea. china had a cool reaction to the proposal. a foreign ministry spokesman said, quo it, the problem is gentleman man cannot look straight at history and reality. turning to the middle east, the israeli army said one of its military vehicles was damaged by a dom set off on the other side of the border. no one was injured. authorities say it was unclear who was behind the attack. the israeli military says its soldiers returned fire after being fired upon by a syrian soldier. franz said it is tripling the number of troops it is sending to the central african republic. the french president said that the deployment will increase
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from 600 to 1600. the african union is sending 2500 troops. the fighting is between christian and muslim forces. the red cross has recovered 400 bodies in the capital city. president obama urged the congress to extend the federal unemployment benefits. caring for the long term unemployed is one challenge and so is finding jobs for the young workers. their unemployment rate is in the mid teens and even higher than that among young minorities. for more about all of this, we are joininged by victoria stillwell. there was a recession in the '70s and a stock market crash in 1987 and jobs were scarce. what makes this so different for
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young americans compared to those times? >> the great recession was unprecedented. it exacerbated trends. we have been seeing unemployment for people aged 26 16 to 24 hig. but that spread has widened out. in the last recovery the pred between unemployment for young people and for everyone else was about 5 to 6 percentage points and now it is 7 percentage points. we have an unemployment rate that is double the national average. that's a problem. >> one of the things that is interesting about this. we are not talking about low income starter jobs. these are people getting ready to start their careers and have been to college and grad school. what is the implication of those people being out of work. >> if we have people that have put in all this money into getting an education, who have
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made a real investment in trying to secure better careers and are stuck with a waitressing or retail job there are a lot of implications with that. they may have student loans they cannot pay off. that increases their probability of defaulting on the loans. they also lower their lifetime earnings potential. the center for american progress did a study on the long term implications of this. and they found that for the 1 million americans who are young and who are unemploymented because of the great recession they probably lost a collective $20 billion in earnings for the next 10 years. >> what about the larger part of the economy? >> if you have young people living with relatives and friends, couch surfing, renting instead of buying a home because they don't have the money to do that or the credit built up to
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do that or have bad credit, that pushes back the time line where they can buy a home and if they do it at all. it also had a big implication for consumer spend coming is the biggest part of our economy. if people are earning less over their lifetime they will be buying and consuming less. >> so everything gets pushed back down the line. >> exactly. >> i'm wondering if the way we thought about these jobs for young people that it's over. that these jobs have been taken by two or thee of these jobs to make up for a salary they had once. they are take care of their families with what we thought of as kids' jobs. is this a new normal? >> the hope is as the economy improves and was get higher demand as companies see a need to take on more workers they will do that and it will open up the lower entry level jobs for the people who have typically had them. the great recession caused a lot
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of ripple effects. people who were making 50, 60, $70,000 a year had to flip burgers. the hope is that as things get better like they, are that we will be able to get young people back in those jobs and add skills and experience and get on the track they need to be. >> thanks for being with us. >> thanks. >> and this from los angeles. the grammy nominations were announced last night. among them, jay z, who led the way with nine nominations. the spoken word category which has been won by three u.s. presidents pits stephen colbert against carole burnett and pete seger among others.
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nelson mandela's death continues to be mourned throughout south africa and the rest of the world. the 95-year-old former south african president died thursday. because of his activism he spent decades imprisoned on robben island near cape town. we traveled there and spoke with an inmate about the harsh conditions. >> it took the 46-year-old mada mandela less than an hour by boat. he was not to make the return journey just to another prison for a further 18 years. these days it's a tourist destination. a brush with history and one with suffering. my guide was this man.
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>> you are viewing down there is between the wall. >> incarcerated here at 17 for blowing up a power plant. >> how many prisoners were there? >> 00. >> all political? >> all political. to such an extent they were trying to reduce our numbers. those two years, three years they want to take them to the mainland. from five to life they keep you here. >> you had do 18. >> i had to do 18. we tried at 6 to go to the mainland. >> did anyone escape? >> not in our time, ever. but very good plans. >> b wing is where all the key anc prisoners were held. so the man was here in this room. this room was his cell. >> from 1964 up until 1979, they
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were given this. >> two meters by two meters, the mat on the floor, no bed until his final years, a bucket and a precious window to the outside world. my guide has often gazed from mandela's window before. but today, he becomes overwhelmed by tears. >> an incredible life. >> yes. >> surviving this was critical. >> yes. >> and they tried everything to humiliate him? >> all the things. they did everything. trying to break him down. they even use his family.
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>> when he looked out of his window, mandela's solace was his small garden along the prison wall. he planted this tree and sat beneath the vine he nurtured from the courtyard grid. on his last year on robben island, mandela was allowed to work here cape town, tantalizingly close. surviving robben island, to emerge preaching both hope and forgiveness, utterly central to mandela's position here and across the world. they are bound up in that key that turned so many, many times, to confine him in this place for so long.
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thousands of veterans wounded in iraq or afghanistan are being treated with powerful painkillers. new evidence suggests that some are overmedicated. the death rate at va hospitals from overdoses of narcotic painkillers is twice the national average. our story from the center for investigator reporting first aired on the weekday news hour in early october. aaron glance begins his record in oregon. >> reporter: u.s. army specialist jeffrey wagoner received a funeral with full military honors. he was medically evacuated out of afghanistan in 2007 after he sustained a groin injury when a rocket propelled grenade exploded. but that's not what killed him.
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wagoner survived his deployment. he died in this hotel hours after being discharged in oregon. while recovering from his wounds his mental state deteriorated. he became addicted to painkillers and the army sent him to the detox center at this va hospital to get clean. but the hospital continued to give him narcotics and after two months they released him with a massive cocktail of drugs including 12 tablets of oxycodone. since jeff's death his father greg has been trying to piece together what happened. >> i couldn't believe the amount of medications prescribed to him. >> after he left the hospital, jeff went to a nearby motel. >> he picked up a six-pack of beer, he checked into a room. has a couple of beers, decides he's hungry and goes next door
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to a restaurant, orders up that cos and another beer and beings groggy. >> the surveillance footage shows what happens next. he fumbles with the keys to his room. he nods and lurches forward and collapses. wagoner lay on the floor for an hour until the paramedics arrived. they tried to revive him but it was too late. the state medical examiner concluded in addition to the two beers, jeff con sumd eight oxycodone pills with muscle relaxants he got from the va. greg wagoner has never watched the video. he believes that the va was complicit in his son's death. >> the last thing you think you have a child in the hospital to get care that someone would call at your door and tell you that he passed away.
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>> since wagon her's death five years ago, the narcotic prescription rate has continued to rise. with you tried to interview the hospital director but our request was denied. last year, doctors in rose burg wrote more openuate prescriptions per patient than at any va hospital in the country according to the center for investigator reporting. the center analyzed 12 years of data from the va and found the prescriptions for four highly addictive painkillers have surged by 270 percent since the war in afghanistan began. far outstripping the increase in patients. this man is a psychiatrist and required army general. the data shows the agency is overmedicating patients as it struggles to keep up with their need for treatment. >> they are working in the clinics and are busy with time
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constraints and pressures. and giving a prescription which they know how to do and are trained to do is almost a default. >> reporter: he says that prescription opiates actually hurt most veterans rather than help them. >> you have been exposed to blasts and feeling the effects of the blasts and then you add a medication for pain, that's going to make your thinking problems even worse. and not only that, you're going to feel more depressed. >> the va has known about the problem for years. in 2011 researchers published a study showing the fatal overdose rate is double the national average. four years ago the agency adopted regulations designed to get doctors to use alternatives to prescription opiates. we spent a month trying to get someone from the va to go on the record about prescription painkillers but no one would talk to us. >> i want to get back to all the
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medication. >> reporter: it is drawing interest on capitol hill. in march, the va's undersecretary for health testified before the senate committee on veterans affairs. >> let me deal first with opioids which is the most dangerous of our -- >> he says the va uses opiates only as a last resort. >> when you are not able to manage the pain, it's opioids and there are careful protocols about how that prescribes should be done. >> but the data shows the rate of prescriptions for opiates continues to rise. and across the country, we found veterans addicted to painkillers they got from the va. in new hampshire, tim is trying to stay clean. he served in iraq and afghanistan. two years after he came home he
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went to the va for help. the va doctors have provided him with 4,000 oxycodone pills. >> i thought they were okay. the doctor was prescribing it to me. if they are giving it to me, i'm going to take it. [ bleep ] if it makes me feel good i'm going to take 15 of them. >> he deployed to faluja. he took the pills to blot out the guilt and shame of surviving. his medical records show the va knew he was an addict but continued to dole out the opiates. at tim's family home in western massachusetts, his father, mike, has built a basement shrine to his family's military legacy. >> this is my son, tim. >> reporter: he says his son's
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life started to spiral out of control after his best friend from the marine corps died. he encouraged him to get help at the va hospital. the doctors loaded him up on painkillers. >> that was the beginning and the end for him. >> reporter: tim was hooked and overdosed again and again. his parents kicked him out. he moved in with eric. they fed each other's addictions. when they ran out of pills they bought heroin. eventually tim realized he needed to move out. three months later his former roommate died of an overdose. today, he is living with his girlfriend. he's been clean for six months now but staying off opiates hasn't been easy. in july after a confrontation landed him in a va emergency room he was shocked with an agency doctor again proibed ox
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you co done. he filled the prescription and then stared at the bottle. >> i opened it up a couple times a day just to try to take one out. if i take this, you know, i'm not going to be living where i am right now. i'm going to be off and running again. it's going to send me on my way. so i flushed them. >> with his mind no longer deadened by opiates, flashbacks and anxiety make him angry and explosive. he still turns to the va for help. he is up early this morning waiting for a shuttle to take him to the va. >> my goal is to figure out where this rage, anxiety and all this is coming from when i have been sober. try to figure out where that comes from and how to cope with that, i guess. >> the department of veterans affairs remains a refuge for
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tim. he can surround himself with other veterans, men and women who survived war only to battle addiction at home. >> learn more about the consequences of taking too much pain medication and explore the investigation from the center of investigator reporting. -- investigative reporting. join us tomorrow on air and online. one massachusetts county is keeping the local economy moving by printing its own money. >> it's good for our country to keep manufacturing here. >> it's about shopping local. it's about sustain ability right here where we live and work. >> that's it for this edition of "pbs news hour weekend." i'm allison stewart. thanks for watching.
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pbs news hour weekend is made possible by judy and josh westin. joyce v. hale. the wallick family. the cheryl and philip milstein family. roslyn p. walter. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america. additional support is provided by -- and by -- the corporation
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for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
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